When I first became pregnant, the thought crossed my mind that I never really thought would; I think I want to be a stay at home mom. I never really thought I'd want to stay at home with a baby. As soon as my little love was growing, though, my mind completely changed. I knew I wanted to be the one to raise my baby throughout her days.
At the time, I was teaching English full time. I knew a career as a teacher would provide me time off that most other careers just don't offer, but I also knew it was really demanding work. Stressful, time consuming, life consuming work. Right away, I knew I wouldn't want to teach full time with a baby, so I looked to make a change.
Long story short, I ended up taking a part time teaching position in the same school. I'm still in this position. It has allowed me the flexibility to still earn some stable income while being home with Gemma 2 or 3 weekdays, depending on the week and my teaching schedule.
This was a hard decision to make, as I knew the income from this job wouldn't be enough. Because I wanted to be home, at least most of the time, with Gemma, I knew this was the decision I was going to make anyways.
I ended up getting to take an almost four month maternity leave, which was wonderful. Going back to work, even on such a part time schedule, was still really hard. My schedule isn't great for childcare, and childcare is expensive. Next, year, I won't be going back to this part time job at all.
I'll write more on why I'm stepping away from teaching in a future post, but for now, I want to talk about how we are "affording" to make this decision, and how I have been able to "afford" to be a part time stay at home mom in the first place.
I've often had some working mom friends tell me that they wish they could afford to do what I'm doing- so that's where the idea for this post was born.
Here's the thing- We can't afford it.
The reason I've put the word afford in quotes up until now- well, it's not a thing. Going part time was partly a step in faith, and partly a carefully calculated step. But we've struggled financially because of this decision, and still, I'm taking it even further and not going back.
Being a stay at home mom is something I want. It is part of my values and what I want for my family. It is not for everyone, but if it is something you want bad enough, I believe you can make it work.
So, no, it wasn't and isn't easy to make the decision. We can't afford it, but we have made it work. If you want to stay at home, you can do the same.
We can't afford for me to be a stay at home mom, so I'm a work at home mom.
Easier said than done, right? I have a whole post on how I get stuff done with a baby, and I know as babies get older and drop naps, it will become harder. But I actually do have to work for us to be able to afford me staying at home at all. So I make it work, I find a way, I work during naptime, after bedtime, in the mornings, on the weekends. I actually enjoy working from home, though it took a lot of adjustment.
I can't stress this enough. If you want to be a stay at home mom, I believe you can make it work.
Here are a few practical steps we have taken to make more money and spend less that might help you see staying at home as a possible reality.
1. Work from home
If you are pregnant right now- begin looking for work that you can do from home right now. It won't be as easy to figure it out once your baby is here. Get started now.
If you already have baby(ies) and want to stay at home, it might be hard to make this step work, but I know a lot of moms who do it. Find something, anything, that you can do from home, in flexible hours of course because babies schedules constantly change.
If you aren't pregnant, don't have babies, but think you might want to be a stay at home mom in the near future, start now. Find a job that you can do, flexible, from home. It was a coincidence that I already had one part time, from home job. This gave me confidence that I could find more income from home so that I actually could stay home with my baby.
2. Start a side hustle
I've only just begun with my hand lettering shop, but it has brought us a bit more income that has been helpful to pay for little things throughout the month. If you have some kind of hobby that can be turned into a business without a lot of overhead cost, why not try it out? This could be a way to make extra money so that you can stay home.
3. Spend less
It may seem obvious, but many people can figure out how to afford staying home just by adjusting the budget. Really think of need vs. want. We have a lot of monthly costs, so we found ones that we could cut. Here are the top things we cut from our budget:
-Cable (we do have a smart TV and use Netflix) -Going out to eat/ for drinks (you naturally won't do this as much with a baby_ -Takeout (it's tempting, but just make easy dinner meal plans for the week) -Baby things (we buy stuff used or get stuff free/ borrow from friends) -Clothing (I buy secondhand only if I need it)
These have made the biggest changes to our budget, but we've also simplified our possessions in general. Look at your budget and think of what you can cut. I know there is so much more I can cut from my budget, and I plan to continue to do so.
4. Work Part Time out of the Home
This is what I chose to do to start, and it worked well for the time being. If you can't fully be a stay at home mom, this is one way to make sure you spend more time at home with your baby, but still work as well. I ended up wanting to stay home fully, and child care was hard with this option, but it is an option- and not a bad one!
If staying at home with your baby is something you want, there are ways to make it work.
I know everyone's situation is different. For some people, it may truly not be possible. But if you're looking it up and you clicked on this post, you're trying to find a way, and for you, I do think it's possible. These are just three easy ways my family has made it work, and I'm so grateful it has.
It isn't easy, but it's worth it, like most anything that matters.
P.S. If you're a working mom, go you! If you love what you do and working is what you want to do, that's awesome. You do really hard things, and I admire you! All moms are superheros. Working mom, stay at home mom, work from home mom, whatever it is that you do- you are doing what's best for your family and your babies. I'm not trying to say one is better than the other. Just had to clear that up!